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A vet’s advice: Translate your military skills for hiring managers
Editor's Note: The following story was authored by Robert Half and highlights a veteran at Robert Half. Committed to including talented members of the military community in its workplace, Robert Half is a client of Hirepurpose, a Task & Purpose sister company. Learn more here.
When Jason Markowitz was in college majoring in electrical and computer engineering, he found it difficult to maintain his grades while simultaneously working two jobs. On a buddy's recommendation, in 2006, he left college and enlisted in the Army National Guard.
"I was interested in serving my country," Markowitz explains in a recent interview. "Also, the money I'd earn in the military could help with college tuition down the line."
Markowitz says joining the military gave him the leg up he needed. He dove into roles as communications and networking supervisor and recruiting liaison. Deployed to Afghanistan, Markowitz found the military provided him the structure, skills and training that would serve him well in life and later in his civilian career. "The military … gave me a work ethic that I didn't have," he says.
During his tour of duty overseas, Markowitz says he handled "anything under the sun" having to do with communications equipment. He did the planning, execution, monitoring and controlling of these projects, which helped him build valuable project management skills.
"All these tasks are things vets handle," he says, "but they may not realize these activities are key to project management initiatives they will encounter once in the civilian workforce."
Fast forward to 2013. Markowitz found himself among the 200,000 service members separating each year from the military. Many wish to quickly enter the civilian workforce, but find roadblocks along the way.
For many veterans transitioning, like Markowitz, there is a feeling of being an outsider looking in. After putting their lives on the line to defend their fellow military members and entering into combat situations, many like Markowitz come home to a less-than-warm reception on the job search front.
After leaving the National Guard, Markowitz remembers a recruiter at a job fair telling him his "time in the military didn't count as experience."
In 2009, summoning the discipline he'd developed in the military, and with savings earned, he went to college and in 2012 earned his BS in business administration and management.
But even with his extensive technical training and leadership, and a four-year degree under his belt, he found the job search unwelcoming.
"I couldn't find a job," he says, recalling how he slept on friends' couches for two years. After pounding the pavement and having more doors closed in his face than he cares to count, he found a commission job in financial services. He also tried his hand at running a housekeeping business. One dead end after another.
"It felt like a punch in the gut," Markowitz says. "I didn't expect the transition from military to civilian work to be easy, but I did expect my service to give me a leg up. What I found was a big letdown. My experience wasn't even as valued as a summer internship by employers."
Markowitz says his best friend, who had been coaching him throughout his job search, one day recommended him for a position at global staffing firm Robert Half, his friend's employer. To prepare for the interview, he would have to learn how to translate military jargon into corporate lingo, his friend told him, then spent hours with him doing mock interviews.
"I owe so much to the guy," Markowitz says.
His practice sessions paid off. He is now a successful portfolio manager in information security at Robert Half.
"There are enough veterans here at Robert Half, and camaraderie, that you feel you're not an oddball," Markowitz says. "There is an instant rapport with other vets."
Although Markowitz found a job internally with Robert Half, the company also makes strong efforts to connect veteran job candidates with opportunities at its clients' businesses.
Robert Half works with transition assistance program leaders, has a presence at numerous U.S. military bases and helps candidates with military backgrounds with mock interviews, resume review and employer panel days. The company has deep relationships with veterans organizations — including Hirepurpose — and has one of the most effective online military skills translators in the industry.
The company also has many former veterans working at its corporate headquarters and in its field offices around the globe. They are familiar with the challenges veterans face transitioning to civilian careers and many mentor candidates and new hires along their new career paths.
Markowitz's advice to veterans looking for career opportunities: "The U.S. military is the largest fraternal organization in the world. If you email vets at other civilian organizations, find them on LinkedIn or other networking sites, or at vet mixers, they will respond and help. NPower and Hirepurpose are just two great examples of organizations helping veterans with this process. Today, you're not alone."
"The biggest thing I learned is that you have to translate your knowledge and skills for hiring managers or risk hitting your head against the wall," Markowitz says.
"The responsibilities I had as a radio operator/maintainer could be described in civilian terms as a project coordinator/project manager/trainer," Markowitz says. "I was communicating daily to senior leaders risks, challenges, technical requirements, dependencies to meet mission requirements, as well as building out specific documents and standard operating procedures for people in the field. I was supervising other soldiers who would be setting up communications infrastructure. When I got some perspective on it, I came to the conclusion that my skills set represent a strong project management background.
"If I put my job title as '25C,' no recruiter in the civilian world would know what that is," Markowitz says. "Instead, you have to translate what you actually did in the military … to something that a recruiter would see and be able to put in front of a hiring manager. You might've worked on technical systems that don't exist outside of the military, but they're very similar to technical systems that are in the civilian world. You have to be able to say with confidence, 'I did this, and it's very similar to what you're hiring for. Can you give me a chance? I'm gonna prove it to you that I'm worth taking the chance on.'
"When I had my interview at Robert Half, it was with three people and one happened to be a veteran," Markowitz says. "He was able to understand my experience and way of communicating much better. Robert Half gave me an opportunity to come in and prove myself and show my skill set in a way that demonstrated what I'd done in the military mattered and had value."
This post was sponsored by Robert Half.
Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher will retire as a chief petty officer now that President Donald Trump has restored his rank.
"Before the prosecution of Special Warfare Operator First Class Edward Gallagher, he had been selected for promotion to Senior Chief, awarded a Bronze Star with a "V" for valor, and assigned to an important position in the Navy as an instructor," a White House statement said.
"Though ultimately acquitted on all of the most serious charges, he was stripped of these honors as he awaited his trial and its outcome. Given his service to our Nation, a promotion back to the rank and pay grade of Chief Petty Officer is justified."
The announcement that Gallagher is once again an E-7 effectively nullifies the Navy's entire effort to prosecute Gallagher for allegedly committing war crimes. It is also the culmination of Trump's support for the SEAL throughout the legal process.
On July 2, military jurors found Gallagher not guilty of premeditated murder and attempted murder for allegedly stabbing a wounded ISIS fighter to death and opening fire at an old man and a young girl on separate occasions during his 2017 deployment to Iraq.
Trump orders dismissal of murder charge against former Green Beret accused of killing a suspected Taliban bomb maker
President Donald Trump has ended the decade-long saga of Maj. Matthew Golsteyn by ordering a murder charge against the former Green Beret dismissed with a full pardon.
The Army charged Golsteyn with murder in December 2018 after he repeatedly acknowledged that he killed an unarmed Afghan man in 2010. Golsteyn's charge sheet identifies the man as "Rasoul."
President Donald Trump has signed a full pardon for former 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, who had been convicted of murder for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men, two of whom were killed.
Lorance will now be released from the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he had been serving a 19-year sentence.
"He has served more than six years of a 19-year sentence he received. Many Americans have sought executive clemency for Lorance, including 124,000 people who have signed a petition to the White House, as well as several members of Congress," said a White House statement released Friday.
"The President, as Commander-in-Chief, is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the law is enforced and when appropriate, that mercy is granted. For more than two hundred years, presidents have used their authority to offer second chances to deserving individuals, including those in uniform who have served our country. These actions are in keeping with this long history. As the President has stated, 'when our soldiers have to fight for our country, I want to give them the confidence to fight.'"
Additionally, Trump pardoned Maj. Matthew Golsteyn, who was to go on trial for murder charges next year, and restored the rank of Navy SEAL Chief Edward Gallagher, who was found not guilty of murdering a wounded ISIS prisoner but convicted of taking an unauthorized photo with the corpse.
Fox News contributor Pete Hegseth first announced on Nov. 4 that the president was expected to intervene in the Lorance case was well as exonerate Army Maj. Matthew Golsteyn, who has been charged with murder after he admitted to killing an unarmed Afghan man whom he believed was a Taliban bomb maker, and restore Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher's rank to E-7.
For the past week, members of Lorance's family and his legal team have been holding a constant vigil in Kansas anticipating his release, said Lorance's attorney Don Brown.
Now that he has been exonerated of committing a war crime, Lorance wants to return to active duty, Brown told Task & Purpose on Wednesday.
"He loves the Army," Brown said prior to the president's announcement. "He doesn't have any animosity. He's hoping that his case – and even his time at Leavenworth – can be used for good to deal with some issues regarding rules of engagement on a permanent basis so that our warfighters are better protected, so that we have stronger presumptions favoring warfighters and they aren't treated like criminals on the South Side of Chicago."
In the Starz documentary "Leavenworth," Lorance's platoon members discuss the series of events that took place on July 2, 2012, when the two Afghan men were killed during a patrol in Kandahar province.They claim that Lorance ordered one of his soldiers to fire at three Afghan men riding a motorcycle. The three men got off their motorcycle and started walking toward Afghan troops, who ordered them to return to their motorcycle.
At that point, Lorance ordered the turret gunner on a nearby Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle to shoot the three men, according to the documentary. That order was initially ignored, but the turret gunner eventually opened fire with his M-240, killing two of the men.
But Lorance told the documentary makers that his former soldiers' account of what happened was "ill-informed."
"From my experience of what actually went down, when my guy fired at it, and it kept coming, that signified hostile intent, because he didn't stop immediately," Lorance said in the documentary's second episode.
Brown argues that not only is Lorance innocent of murder, he should never have been prosecuted in the first case.
"He made a call and when you look at the evidence itself, the call was made within a matter of seconds," Brown said "He would make that call again."
The new Call of Duty Modern Warfare takes gaming to a new level. In fact, it's the best damn video game of 2019 (in my humble opinion).
You can watch video of the awesome gameplay for CoD above, and make sure to follow the Task & Purpose team on Twitch here.
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